2105: Babylon, Capital of Luna, formerly the Colony of New Jamestown
Babylon was a city, in the sense that anything could be like a city while not being on Earth. There were perhaps 10,000 people on the busiest day, when Cosmonauts from the Asteroid belt returned with Icebergs and detailed surveys of the rich resources hidden in the solar system.
It was a city in the way that only a city could be so loud and so hot, cramped even though it was a tiny fraction of the size of the massive megacity of Tokyo, Japan. It had bars, it was dirty and its people were busy with their own destinies.
The noise was due to everything being built into the surface and tunnels of Luna, the lack of atmosphere outside made everything rumble away into the surface and the structures without much bleeding off into air.
The heat, which was the real issue with building a city on the moon, was from the steady build up of energy and vibration which had to bled off into the numerous banks of radiators, hidden deep in the tunnels beneath the city. The bleeding process was used to melt the enormous icebergs, hauled back from the belt or mined from beneath the moon's surface, melting it down into drinking water and repurposed as fuel and air. The water had a taste of copper and ozone, which the residents didn’t notice and the Cosmonauts joked was actually better than the water back home.
The highest cause of death had been cancer, before screening and anti-radiation medication had been commonplace. One of the gifts given to Babylon by the Russian Oligarchs after declaring its independence from any one Earth nation or Corporation.
The declaration itself had been relatively tame, in comparison to the violence and dissent of the protests, strike and the eventual murder of Thaddeus Havelford. The first man to be murdered in Space. Thaddeus had been the Governor, CEO and God King of New Jamestown, before his murder. He had grown up in London, one of the wealthy elite that attended the right schools and made the right friends to ensure he never had to work an honest day in his life. His parents had been successful contract lawyers and share traders. He had studied Economics and Politics before a career of Nepotism and public Scandal.
His exile, to New Jamestown and Luna, had been in response to the scandal of an affair with his underage intern and to create distance between him and the anger of the public. Before being sent up the well Thaddeus was assured that there would be a position for him within six months or a year after the public's attention shifted to the next high-budget film or refugee crisis.
Thaddeus had not returned to Earth after six months or a year, instead he had found his niche on Luna. Using the security force as his personal army to strong arm the population he made himself very comfortable in New Jamestown. Living in the same untouchable luxury as a Colonial Governor in the Age of Exploration. While the desperate refugee crisis on Earth grew worse and his friends used private Heli jets to avoid being on the streets with the peasants. Thaddeus kept his cronies close and whatever luxury he could steal or buy even closer.
When he was killed by a group of Union protesters, he was very surprised that his Security Force was not willing to die for him. In fact, it was one of his security personnel that gave the strikers access to his personal quarters and allowed them to drag him naked, weeping, to one of the airlocks. Weeping had turned to anger had turned to begging. Marjia Gomes, a middle aged woman whose partner had been killed in a tunnel collapse, which reports had suggested to Thaddeus Havelford was long overdue to collapse and in dire need of repairs. Thaddeus had ignored the reports and acted the part of a devastated leader at such an unpredictable tragedy. While the resources intended for the repairs were used to refurbish his bathroom. Marjia was thinking of her lover when she opened the airlock and watched Thaddeus die. It did not happen as quickly as she would have thought, his body bloating and bulging grotesquely while he pulled at the airlock. The image of his naked, horrific form circulated New Jamestown and naturally made its way to Earth.
Which led to the problem of how one bought a murderer to justice on Earth, if they were on the Moon with thousands of people willing to protect them. Thaddeus’ high society friends demanded that a team of armed soldiers be sent up the gravity well to kill the strikers en masse. Confident that New Jamestown had no weapons, not really, that could defend them. The International Space Agency gently pointed out that if the residents of New Jamestown were unwilling to let a shuttle land or make contact, there were countless ways they could prevent them from doing so.
"Space is like the Ocean if there wasn’t any air and you die if your ship leaks. Ask any sailor, ships always leak. Especially if there are hundreds of engineers and miners intent on poking holes in your ship." the ISA rep told the room of wealthy elites. The rep was a beneficiary of the trade lottery and had actually worked hard for their position, so did not have much sympathy for Thaddeus Havelford, or his high society friends.
The dithering and lack of response gave the residents of New Jamestown real confidence. They realised at much the same time that there was very little anyone on Earth could do to them, short of sending missiles and nukes to destroy the entire city. The wealthy loved money more than they had loved Thaddeus Havelford.
When independence was declared it was a low key affair, after weeks of communication with the People's Republic of China and the Russian government that New Jamestown would be an Independent Trade Port, with its autonomy guaranteed by those nations.
The year was 2105 and Babylon was born, the new frontier that the poor and lost of Earth would look up to in the night sky and wonder how anyone, anywhere, could be so free. While the people of Babylon looked back at the blue marble on their horizon and wondered at how anyone could have ever left something so beautiful.
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
The feels like Artemis by Andy Weir who wrote The Martian or The Expanse minus aliens. Great stuff.
I'm actually reading Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir at the moment so that's a huge compliment. Thanks Graham!
You're welcome. Did you get into him after seeing the film like me or did you read the books first?
I did the same, saw the movie and then went through the book and his short stories. I love the sense of humour he injects to the characters, both the Martian and Project Hail Mary have made me laugh out loud multiple times.
It's amazing how funny they are and also how accurate an adaptation the film was, which also made reading the book after a little bit boring. I hope he writes a lot more like that. Rosario Dawson narrated the book for Artemis which was awesome. I haven't read Project Hail Mary yet. Hopefully he'll do something with a recurring character eventually, it's cool to get to know a character over a couple of books. Have you read the Dune books?
Yes, getting to know the same character in his stories would be really great, even just tertiary characters cropping up in the books would be cool. I do understand that its difficult though, with the specific nature of the situations in Martian and Project Hail Mary. It'd be quite hard to suspend ones disbelief that one person could end up in that kind of situation twice. I have read Dune! I read it once many years ago and then again just before the new movie came out. It really changed my perception of genre writing as a whole. It's wild h...
I know that I'm no SI-FI expert and that I haven't read many novels that include sci-fi themes, but the way you made the city feel real with its own problems and people, is something remarkable in my own honest humble opinion. Your language is concise and clear, it draws the reader in, which I extremely and utterly appreciate. I think, and it is just a guess, that you read a lot of sci-fi, and that really appears in the dexterity you have over the themes of this genre. If I am to give you some kind of advice, or more like a personal preferen...
Thanks Ismail, I really appreciate the feedback. I do very much enjoy reading science fiction and am perhaps a bit guilty of assuming that everyone knows as much about the laws of physics and technology as me so it is good that the themes were clear. I'll definitely try to experiment with some more flowery prose. Thanks again for reading!